There is a small mountain or a large hill just behind Kibaale Community Centre….. on top of which is a large hollow tree. I have heard that this tree was used by witch doctors. Over the years, many people have climbed this mountain or hill and prayed for the land and the people…. now the tree is old and there are no longer any gifts or sacrifices left in the hollow of the tree.

So, somehow I thought that witch doctors were of the past and not of the present. The story I am about to tell you was told to me by three of the clinic staff… each one of them at a different time. It is about an employee of Kibaale Community Centre, a driver. That he was bewitched by his wife because he took her cell phone away. This employee came to the clinic last week with abdominal pain. The medical officer and the triage nurse assessed the man and had him transferred to the nearest hospital, Rakai. I was not in Kibaale on this day…. but the next evening I was asked for financial support to transfer him from Rakai to the referring hospital in Masaka. He was transferred but died in the night. I was told he had been healthy up until that day. His brothers speak about how they believe his wife went and found a witch doctor and had a spell on him…….

Last night another driver died. He had been on a number of medications for his high blood pressure. His blood pressure was not improving and he was encouraged to seek additional medical help in Masaka…..

This afternoon, I heard some of the clinic staff and some of the patients discussing witch doctors and the deaths of these two drivers. If I thought witch doctors were of the past I was wrong. There is still an underlying fear of witchcraft and the witch doctor.

On Jan 7, 2010, there was an article by the BBC about witch doctors in Uganda… that witchcraft was on the increase because of development and prosperity. There is a belief that witchcraft can help people get rich quickly.

From what I have been told these two men were believers in Jesus Christ and somehow witch doctors and witchcraft is being discussed about their deaths. I am hoping that with the passing of time, these two men lives will no longer be part of any discussion on witchcraft or witch doctors but on who they were as a brother, husband, father and trusted employee.

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